The Florida prosecutor fighting DeSantis over the suspension says he will not seek re-election

TAMPA, Fla. — An elected prosecutor in Florida, who was suspended by Governor Ron DeSantis after signing a statement opposing abortion prosecutions, said Monday he will not seek re-election because he believes the Florida governor would suspend him again if he would win the race.

Andrew Warren said in a video on social media that he still plans to continue his legal battle and challenge his suspension as state's attorney in the Tampa area even if he does not seek re-election.

At the time of the 2022 suspension, DeSantis, who is running for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, accused Warren of dereliction of duty and incompetence after the Democratic prosecutor signed statements, along with other US prosecutors, opposing against criminal charges against abortion. healthcare providers or women seeking abortions. Warren also said he would not prosecute people for providing gender-affirming health care, and that his office's policy was not to charge people with single minor crimes.

Florida had a 15-week abortion ban at the time, and DeSantis signed a law last year banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. DeSantis also supported legislation banning transgender minors from receiving puberty blockers, but a federal judge has blocked parts of the new law.

DeSantis appointed Republican Suzy Lopez to replace Warren in August 2022. She is now the only person running for that office.

If he were to run again, win and then get suspended again, it would create too much uncertainty for the office, so he decided to “take one for the team and not run,” Warren said Monday.

“I have been planning to run for re-election since the day I was suspended, but the governor has made it clear that he is not concerned with the will of the voters or our democracy, and that he is willing to take state and federal to break laws. to keep me from serving as prosecutor,” Warren said. “I care too much about the District Attorney's Office and this community to allow that cloud of uncertainty to hang over us.”

Warren's suspension was the first imposed by the Republican governor, involving Democratic state attorneys in two of Florida's most populous metropolitan areas. Last year, DeSantis suspended Orlando-area prosecutor Monique Worrell. Worrell is challenging the decision in the Florida Supreme Court.

Last year, the Florida Supreme Court declined to reinstate Warren, saying he waited too long to file a petition.

Warren also challenged his firing in federal court, where he said DeSantis punished him for being a dissenting voice, violating his constitutional right to free speech and annulling the election that brought Warren to power. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle, in dismissing Warren's lawsuit, wrote that federal law bars him from returning to the prosecutor's office. Warren has appealed this decision.